Quit Smoking for Good—for Vanity’s Sake!

Image Above Taken From: www.webmd.com

At the Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, we always advocate for what’s in the best interest of your health, which is why it’s time to revisit our long list of reasons to kick the smoking habit once and for all. Smoking is particularly harmful for women. In fact, female smokers have a 25 to 32 percent greater risk of developing breast cancer.

Though most of us have heard the popular (and worthy) reasons to quit smoking—such as it causes cancer and emphysema and is an expensive habit, to boot—we decided to look at the more obvious ways smoking effects the body, both mentally and physically. Without further adieu, here are a few lesser-known reasons to inspire you or a loved one to give up cigarettes for good:

  • Get fresh: Cigarette toxins change your face’s oil secretions, which causes breakouts. To add insult to injury, according to Dr. Nicholas Perricone, dermatologist and author of The Perricone Prescription, when we inhale just one puff of cigarette smoke, more than a trillion free radicals are produced in our lungs, which then trigger an inflammatory response that circulates throughout the body. No thanks!
  • Stay sharp: Ex-smokers have better memories and reasoning skills than smokers do. Quitting smoking is an easy way to keep your wits in fighting condition! Not to mention, the logical move to stop smoking is contagious. Studies found that if you kick cigarettes, your spouse is 67 percent more likely to quit also, and friends are 36 percent more apt to quit, too.
  • Forever young: Puffers are four times more likely to go gray early, and the average smoker has ten times more wrinkles than non-smokers. Additionally, smoking causes the microscopic muscle fibers in the walls of the blood vessels to contract, causing smokers to have pale skin. In fact, a single cigarette can reduce the blood supply to the skin for more than an hour. Giving up smoking will improve the blood supply to the skin and give previously pale skin a more glowing and youthful appearance.
  • Your figure will thank you: As if maintaining an enviable figure wasn’t hard enough, smoking can create an imbalance in women’s hormone levels, which can lead to changes in body shape. Smoking affects the endocrinal system, or the glands that secrete hormones, and changes the body shape by increasing the waist-to-hip ratio and altering the way the body stores fat.
  • Build your self-esteem: Quitting is hard—if you can do it, you’ll feel more confident to take on other goals in your life! You’ll also have more energy to accomplish those goals. So go ahead and sign up for that 5K you’ve been thinking about, or take that yoga class, and watch your achievements continue to climb!

Have you ever quit smoking? If so, what made you decide to make the change?

6 Things You Didn’t Know About a Vegetarian Diet

Vegetarian DietWhen it comes to a vegetarian diet, there are a lot of needless misconceptions floating around. For starters, the vegetarian diet is not very restrictive, all things considered. It can actually be a well-balanced, varied, and healthy choice for people of all ages.  And with nutrition-rich options like legumes, nuts, and quinoa, getting enough protein is a breeze!

In the spirit of dispelling rumors, here are six other benefits of a vegetarian diet that you may not know:

1. Longer lives: On average, vegetarians live about seven years longer, and vegans (who eschew all animal products) live almost 15 years longer than meat eaters, according to a study from Loma Linda University. Similarly, the China Health Project found that Chinese people who eat the least amount of fat and animal products have the lowest risks of cancer, heart attack, and other chronic diseases.

2. Happy hearts: Vegetarian diets ward off the likelihood of cardiovascular disease, a fact especially worth noting for women (the fatality rate for women who have heart attacks is 53% as opposed to 47% for men). Since produce contains no saturated fat or cholesterol, cholesterol levels for vegetarians are 14 percent lower than meat eaters.

3. Money in the bank: Contrary to belief, it is not more expensive to choose a vegetarian diet. In fact, replacing meat with vegetables and fruits can cut food bills by an average of $4,000 a year.

4. Cancer risk reduction: The National Cancer Institute says that vegetarian women are nearly four times less likely to develop breast cancer than those who eat meat. The German Cancer Research Center posits that vegetarians’ immune systems are more effective in killing off tumor cells than meat eaters’. Turns out, a plant-based diet helps reduce the likelihood of prostate, colon, and skin cancers, too.

5. Feed the world: According to the Journal Soil and Water, one acre of land could produce 50,000 pounds of tomatoes, 40,000 pounds of potatoes, 30,000 pounds of carrots—or just 250 pounds of beef.

6. Water conservation: It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, but just 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat!  So a vegetarian diet is not only healthy for your body, but also the planet.

What are questions you have about a vegetarian diet? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below—we’d love to hear what you think!